OLDENBURG, (HENRY), in biogra phy, who wrote his name sometimes Grubendol, reversing the letters, was a learned German gentleman, and born in the duchy of Bremen, in Lower Saxony, about the year 1626, being descended from the counts of Aldenburg in West phalia: whence his name. During the long English Parliament, in the time of Charles I., he came to England as consul for his countrymen ; in which capacity he remained at London in Cromwell's admi nistration. But being discharged of that employment, he was engaged as tutor to Lord Henry O'Bryan, an Irish nobleman, whom he attended to the University of Oxford ; and in 1656, he entered himself a student in that university ; chiefly to have the benefit of consulting the Bod leian Library. Ile was afterwards ap pointed tutor to Lord William Cavendish, and became intimately acquainted with Milton the poet. During his residence at Oxford, he became also acquainted with the members of that society there which gave birth to the Royal Society ; and upon the foundation of this latter, he was elected a member of it ; and when the society found it necessary to have two secretaries, he was chosen assistant to Dr. Wilkins. He applied himself with extraordinary diligence to the duties of this office, and began the publication of the " Philosophical Transactions," with Number 1, in 1664. In order to discharge this task with more credit to himself and the Society, he held a correspondence with more than seventy learned persons, and others, upon a great variety of sub jects, in different parts of the world. This fatigue would have been insupport able, had he not, as he told Dr. Luster, managed it so as to make one letter an swer another ; and that, to be always fresh, he never read a letter before he was ready immediately to answer it ; so that the multitude of his letters did not clog him, nor ever lie upon his hands.
Among others, he was a constant corres pondent of Mr. Robert Boyle, and he translated many of that ingenious gen tleman's works into Latin.
About the year 1674, he was drawn in to a dispute with Mr. Hook, who com plained, that the Secretary had not done him justice, in the History of the Trans actions, with respect to the invention of the spiral spring for pocket-watches : the contest was carried on with some warmth on both sides, but was at length termi nated to the hononr of Mr. Oldenburg ; for, pursuant to an open representation of the affair to the Royal Society, the Council thought fit to declare, in behalf of their Secretary, that they knew no thing of Mr. Hook having printed a book, entitled " Lampas," &c., but that the publisher of the " Transactions" had conducted himself faithfully and honestly in managing the intelligence of the Roy al Society, and given no just cause for such reflections.
Mr. Oldenburg continued to publish the " Transactions" as before, to Number 136, June 25, 1677; after which, the publication was discontinued till the Ja nuary following, when they were again resumed by his successor in the secreta ry's office, Mr. Nehemiah Grew, who carried them on till the end of Februa ry, 1678. Mr. Oldenburg died at his house at Charlton, between Greenwich and Woolwich, in Kent, August 1678, and was interred there, being fifty-two years of age.
He published, besides what has been already mentioned, twenty tracts, chiefly on theological and political subjects ; in which he principally aimed at re conciling differences and promoting peace.